Saturday, November 3, 2012

Essay Tip #1: Statement of the Rule

This is primarily a blog meant to assist those preparing for the MBE, but I assist students quite a lot on essay writing for the New York, and Florida Bar Exam, and so I'll be posting some essay tips on here along with the other content. This first tip deals with how best to write the statement of the rule in the traditional IRAC format.

I advocate IRAC when writing essays on a bar exam. With limited time for each essay, it's an excellent method for getting across all the issues you spot, and ensuring that those issues are analyzed to the extent necessary to maximize your score. I believe you should IRAC every issue that you spot.

In regards to the statement of the rule, you'll want to include everything you remember about a given area of law, while also ensuring that you don't include irrelevant information. Irrelevant information won't earn you points, and, more importantly, it will reduce the amount of time availabe to analyze issues that will earn you points.

So, for example, let's assume you've spotted an issue implicating the crime of larceny. Assume that the facts provide that X, when taking the property of Y with knowledge that the property belonged to Y, intended to return the property, but later decided to keep it. These facts slightly skew from the traditional elements required for larceny. (Generally, larceny requires that at the time you take the property, you intend to keep it, or permenently deprive the rightful owner of the property.) As such, in your statment of the rule after writing the traditional definition of larceny, you'll want to write the definititon for "continuing trespass" larceny, as you'll later be analyzing it to discuss whether X should be guilty of larceny, even though X did not intend to keep Y's property when he took it. But you wouldn't mention "continuing trespass" larceny in your statement of the rule, if the facts did not implicate it.

Specifically, when writing your statement of the rule, you should always be thinking ahead as to what you will later need to analyze based upon the facts provided to you by the bar examiners. In doing so, you'll be sure to state all the rules necessary to earn you the maximum points, while not squandering valuable time on irrelevant information.

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